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Left-handed pitcher Erik Miller was a 4th round draft selection by the Phillies last year and was immediately held in regard as one of the organization's most promising up-and-coming prospects.
A starter in college, Miller struggled the previous summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, posting a 7.71 ERA. The Stanford product was reportedly signed for $428,300 following the draft.
Once signed, he promptly debuted in the minors and moved up two more levels.
Initially, with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies West team, Miller allowed an earned run in three innings over two appearances. He was then promoted to Class A short-season Williamsport. In six games (four starts) as a member of the Crosscutters, the 22-year-old tallied a 0.90 ERA, a .176 batting average against with no decisions while striking out 29 and walking seven in 20 innings.
Miller, a Missouri native, was then promoted once more, moving up to Class A Lakewood, where he would make his final three appearances of the season. He'd post a 1-0 record with a 2.08 ERA, and a .208 batting average against while striking out 17 and walking six in 13 total innings.
With a sizable frame at six-feet-five, 240 pounds, Miller is an impressive figure on the mound. His repertoire features a fastball that typically reaches the mid-90's, a change up that features a nice variance of speed and a strong slider with plus potential. He's a guy that can add velocity as the season rolls on.
The main critique on Miller around draft time, based on his college efforts, was that he needed to become more consistent with his mechanics. He walked 4.7 batters per nine innings over his last two college seasons. The Phillies' developmental staff would generally find that sort of concern to be a simple fix for a bright, teachable hurler such as Miller. Evidence of that: his BB/9 was down to 3.7 as a professional.
The ceiling for the big lefty is pretty high, as some think he could develop into a number two or a number three starter in the big leagues.
His future role may ultimately be determined by how confident the Phillies coaches are in how Miller's change up will play at higher levels. If he is reduced to a two-pitch menu, then the most ideal path for the talented youngster would be as a reliever.
Look for Miller to kick off his 2020 season in the Class A Advanced Florida State League with Clearwater.
You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.